Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For years I have been a LaTeX user on Ubuntu. I want to know how to install/use LaTeX on Mac.

I generally use it to write mathematically intensive documents and make slides (on beamer). In future I am likely to use a lot of photographs on my slides.

I would be glad if someone can tell me what is the good way to install LaTeX on Mac. (..and also how to run it..) I am comfortable compiling it from some terminal.

I was looking at MacTeX, is that good (or the only one!?)

I was wondering if that comes bundled with a text editor too optimized for LaTeX. If not then kindly suggest me a good editor too. I am used to GEdit on Ubuntu.

For editor I was looking at TeXShop.

So will I have to install both TeXShop and MacTeX ?

share|improve this question
Definitely read up on the opinions at tex.stackexchange.com - a lot of mac users are there and helpful comparing the benefits of specific TeX software stacks. –  bmike Jul 18 '11 at 16:04

3 Answers 3

TeXShop is already included in MacTex (also LaTeXiT, which is probably more interesting for you). Basically, MacTex is a carefree package, which should include everything you would ever need in a LaTex distribution. This really is the best way to install LaTex on a Mac, it's easy and requires little to no configuration (basically what you get used to on a Mac).

If you just want a text editor and run all the LaTeX command in Terminal, you can use TextWrangler, which is free and very good. It's not LaTex specific though and doesn't do any LaTex highlighting. If you want that, you may want to look at Aquamacs Emacs, which does very good highlighting.

share|improve this answer
I don't know which version of TextWrangler you have installed, my installation (3.5.3) does syntax coloring of TeX sources. –  Uwe Honekamp Jul 18 '11 at 17:36
Last time I tried, it didn't. But good to know that it's supported now. –  René Jul 18 '11 at 18:03

It sounds like your needs from the distribution are pretty standard, so MacTeX is definitely your best bet, as René and olivier mention. The MacTeX package does include TeXShop, and it also includes TeXWorks, which is a similar editor (but also runs on Ubuntu). It also includes several other lovely perks, like the LaTeX-aware spell-checker Excalibur and a distribution-managing System Prefs pane (TeX Live Utility).

I would like to mention that you can install gedit on OS X, and it offers LaTeX syntax highlighting by default. Though I would prefer to use TeXShop, if you're looking for a truly seamless transition, you could edit your document using gedit and compile in the command line.

share|improve this answer
Here's a link to TeXWorks, since I can apparently only use two hyperlinks in my answer: tug.org/texworks –  Zach N Nov 6 '11 at 14:55

MacTeX is the right one. It has an installer and doesn't require any technical skill. It includes some softwares and TeXShop is among them (as well as LaTeX It).

You can probably compile and install LaTeX "by hand" in the terminal, but that would be a lot more difficult to get it to work, I think.

I use MacTeX essentially with LaTeX It to include complex equations in iWork documents and it works flawlessy !

I don't edit large documents in LaTeX, but Scribo is a native app (in beta) to do just that and it looks promising. You may want to take a look at it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.